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The 2018 marketing trend roundup

January 2, 2018

2017 was a busy year for marketing. From guerrilla campaigns to changing consumer behaviourGDPR to another John Lewis Christmas advert, we’ve seen platforms rise and fall and trends come and go. Now that the festive season is over, we turn our attention to the new year ahead. Commentators have begun to make their predictions for what 2018 marketing trends we might see.

With so many commentators to keep up with, here is our roundup of 2018 marketing trends:

1. Brand purpose will be realigned

Consumers continue to demand ever more from the brands they engage. Brands must be socially conscious and have a coherent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. We can see that brands are creating strong ‘brand purposes’ that place ‘doing good’ at the heart of their ethos. 

Yet Marketing Week argues that many brands have lost their way when it comes to CSR. There is evidence of a lack direction in implementing their brand purpose. Quoting Diageo CMO Syl Saller, who in an interview earlier this year explained ‘everyone is using purpose in a different way and not defining it […] and a lot of people are defining it as just things that are worthy and good for society,’ Marketing Week sees the need for a change in the coming year.

Instead of the current approach, it is suggested that ‘2018 should be the year brands move away from doing purpose for purpose’s sake (particularly when it is simply a clumsy bolt-on) and instead focus on brand differentiation through better defined positioning.’ 

2. Influencer marketing could wane

In recent years little has been able to slow the seemingly exponential rise in influencer marketing. Looking back at 2017 alone, Digiday has seen a large increase in data around influencer marketing. This has led marketers to place ever more trust in its value. It is also suggested that marketers are now using influencer marketing beyond social media platforms. For example in ‘podcast promotions, e-commerce advertising and even TV commercials.’

Yet the Forbes Agency Council, a prestigious ‘invitation-only organization for senior-level executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies,’ has suggested that 2018 could be the year influencer marketing begins to wane. According to Craig Greiwe, a member of the Council, ‘brands pour millions of dollars into influencers now, but by and large they’re either not measuring or not seeing the results they could get from alternative marketing spends.’

Writing in an article published on Forbes only a few weeks ago, Greiwe believes that in 2018 ‘[influencer marketing] will collapse as brands zero in on a few select individuals who drive results or move to organic grassroots promotion, and away from high-cost, middle-tier influencers who drive awareness but little ROI.’

3. GDPR poses challenges

Back in September we wrote about GDPR. It’s the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation designed to ‘harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy and to reshape the way organisations across the region approach data privacy.’ Marketers must act fast if they are to be ready for the implementation of the regulation in May. GDPR will continue to loom large in the eyes of marketers throughout 2018.

For The Drum, ‘Friday 25 May 2018 will be a date etched in the history of digital advertising.’ Pointing out that ‘while the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook are sitting quite pretty with tens of millions of registered users, the opposite is true for the swathes of ad tech businesses most people have never heard of,’ the scale of the challenge at hand for vast numbers of organisations cannot be overstated. 

Even in the months following the May deadline, there will be uncertainties, and trial and error approaches. Executives will be waiting with baited breath to see how the new regulations play out. It is expected that a ‘short regulatory honeymoon period’ will be granted from the Information Commissioner’s Office. Following this The Drum predicts we ‘could see a high profile bust in the autumn’ as a result of non-compliance.

For more predictions for 2018 marketing trends, check out this article from the Digital Marketing Institute.


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